Happy Trans Awareness Month!

On November 20, 1998, Transgender Day of Remembrance was established as a way to continue the memory of those individuals killed as a result of transphobia. In recent years, this day has expanded into an entire month dedicated to sharing the stories of trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer individuals. Just in 2015, 21 transwomen have been murdered simply for being trans. According to 2014 statistics, 65% of trans people surveyed reported some form of discrimination in public, and among those, 99% reported an increased in emotional/mental health symptoms. Society tells trans people on a daily basis that they don’t belong, and then people wonder why we dedicate an entire month to trans lives.

If you are an ally, take the time this month to educate yourself on some issues that the transgender community are facing. Celebrate both the memory of those who have been taken, and the accomplishments of those who are striving for a better life. Time magazine called 2015 the “Transgender Tipping Point.” While there is an unprecedented amount of visibility beginning in the media (Orange is the New Black, Transparent, Caitlyn Jenner, etc.), one should also remember that the lives of trans celebrities do not equate fully to the lives of those not in front of a camera, and specifically trans people of color (TPOC) and queer trans people of color (QTPOC). Learn more about transgender services in your area, or check out national organizations like the Audre Lorde Project or National Center for Transgender Equality. Youtube is also a great platform for transgender individuals to talk about their experiences. A few recommended YouTubers are Justin Dennis, Kat Blaque, and poetry duo Darkmatter, to barely scratch the surface.

Everyone is fighting for something: a better life, recognition, respect. Most trans people are fighting simply to exist. Transgender Day of Remembrance is on November 20, 2015.